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AspireAN

Developing a Point-and-Click/Hidden Object adventure (Wake: Evolution Through Extinction)

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Hi There,

Years ago I was very interested in turning one of my sci-fi stories into a game. At the time, I didn't have the necessary skills to translate my story into a game; not without having to heavily rely on others.

 

At that time, I had a degree in Organismal Biology with a minor in English Literature. I decided that I wanted to one day be a video game designer. I started as a tester in the industry, even working with Bethesda Softworks. Since then, I've taught myself how to program and now I am essentially a programmer for my current company. I am going back to school, slowly, to get a bachelors in computer programming. In that time, I made one attempt to get one of my sci-fi short stories published, and actually succeeded (semi-pro).

 

Now, I am able to provide a large portion of the effort towards my game idea. It would not have been fair to write the story, the game design, and then rely on a programmer to make it all happen. Now I can do this myself, or contribute to that effort equally, which makes me again ready to take a stab at making Wake: Evolution Through Extinction. The link on the game's name takes you to textadventures.co.uk where I began developing a text adventure version of this game idea 2 years ago. 

 

I would like to begin developing this into a graphical Point-and-Click adventure. It will be a heavily story/dialogue/plot-driven adventure with puzzles and hidden object design principles. 

 

I am looking for advice on approaching such a huge undertaking. What engine is best for this type of game (I am fluent in C#)? How might I best approach stirring up the support of the community, possibly building a team to develop this? I am happy for any advice!

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It sounds like you have an idea and perhaps the story for your game already defined which is a good start. Now in my opinion you need to sit down and start creating a Game Design Document (GDD). This will really help you to flesh out your game.

 

You will need to design the puzzles and come up with a list of artwork you need based on your puzzle designs. Then you will need to figure out the art style that you want to try to use and put all of that information into your GDD.

 

Art is going to be your most expensive/time consuming part of making the game. You will need a large amount of art to really make a point and click adventure game of any sort of depth.

 

Once you have figured out all of your puzzles and the art that you think you will need, you are in a position to start thinking about what platforms you want your game to run on and if you want your game to be 2D or 3D. I would probably recommend 2D for your first game making experience but some aspects of 3D might work better for a point and click adventure game.

 

Play some point and click adventure games that you enjoy and make notes on what you like and don't like about the game. Try to deconstruct some of the puzzles and find elements that you thought worked and did not work. This will help you to understand the genre and to get a feel for what conventions are used.

 

After you have decided all of this information you can start thinking about what sort of engine you want to use. There are a number of popular choices such as Unity or Game Maker. Unity sounds like a good choice because you are fluent in C#. Alternatively there are things like the Adventure Game Engine or Adventure Game Studio. Also see http://www.godpatterns.com/2010/08/how-to-make-adventure-game.html

 

My advice is essentially to plan and design your game first before worrying about what engine your game will use. Then follow the tutorials for the engine that you pick and start working towards making your game!

Edited by shadowisadog

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shadowisadog, I really appreciate that advice. I will check out those engines. 

 

Thank you for the reminder to play a bunch of games in this genre. I had done that in the not-to-distant past, but I need to continue that as I finish my game design document. I do actually have a game design document for this, but it is only approximately 50% fully-fleshed out. That being said, I'm sure it doesn't follow standards for such a document. It is written much like a play, with scenes being set up, characters and special items described, and then dialogue and events scripted out in the scenes and acts. Do you have any recommended standards for the format? That is something I've googled the heck out of. I'd say google was about 50% of the resources I used to teach myself programming, but despite my familiarity with it, I never found any standard for game design documents.

 

Thanks again for the great info. I appreciate all the time you put into your reply biggrin.png

Edited by AspireAN

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Perhaps something like http://www.gamasutra.com/view/feature/131791/the_anatomy_of_a_design_document_.php is a good place to start.

 

I think http://www.cogsci.rpi.edu/courses/icg/atomicsam.pdf is a good example although there really is no "standard" for a GDD. It just needs to be detailed and have as much information as possible about your game.

 

Designs and plans do not need to be fully realized before you start implementing anything, but the more you plan upfront the more time you can save in the future. Designing now will help you to quickly iterate between what works and what doesn't work before you have a lot of time invested in development.

 

The "standard" if I had to define one would be that your GDD should be detailed enough that you can play your game on a piece of paper. If you have a question about what to do during a phase of your game development (like what to implement) you should be able to read your GDD to answer that question. If you CAN'T do that, then your game design document needs more work.

Edited by shadowisadog

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